Snow bank car accidents- who is at fault?

Winters in Nova Scotia bring significant snowfall that must be managed. Management of snow falls lies to landowners. Yes- be it snow direct from the clouds, from a neighbour who shovels snow on your property, or the dreaded snow plow, the landowner is reasonable to make sure the entrance and walkway of their property is safe for pedestrians and motorists. The city shares in this responsibility for its roads, public sidewalks, and other public areas.

As winter goes on, many of us encounter a major problem when it comes to snow removal: where to put the excess snow. We can only create banks so high, be it by hand shoveling or with a snow blower. Where does the snow pushed into driveways by plow equipment go if not on top of the high bank built up from the last snowfall, or back onto the street next to the driveway? Of course, frustrations of drivers and pedestrians mounts with each subsequent snow falls because rising snowbanks makes visibility very challenging.

In theory, the banks are temporary storage locations for snow. In Halifax, the city tries to clear massive snow banks with heavy equipment, often hauling it away or dumping into massive heating machines to melt the snow. Unfortunately, any city driver or pedestrian know that the daily commute is increasingly hazardous as streets narrow, corners are blind, and pedestrians can’t be seen near intersections. Drivers are left to “inch out” into intersections to attempt to see whether the path is clear. Challenges are not unique to public roads. Private parking lots often have massive snow mounds leaving drivers to navigate without established directions.

When accidents happen, the insurance company generally looks to see who had the right of way. The fault determination rules, applicable for car accidents in Nova Scotia, will apply as a baseline to assign blame. Of course, a fault rule-book doesn’t have the flexibility to incorporate what could be seen, how careful each driver way, and weigh the testimony of eyewitnesses.

If you have been involved in a car accident and fault is unclear due to snow conditions, or a unique situation created by snow banks – call a lawyer right away. Comments made to the insurance company, often over the phone on the first or second phone call, often help the insurance company determine fault. Depending on how you, the police, and the insurance company sees the circumstance, you could be left with an unfair result. Car accidents leave many drivers punished through unfair findings of fault every year. Before accepting an unfair report made by an insurance company, speak to a lawyer to learn about your rights and the state of the law. We find that a brief conversation with our lawyer will help you gain the critical information you need to sort out your claim.

A car accident lawyer can assist in ensuring that you aren’t found unfairly at fault for an accident while also assisting you to obtain compensation and benefits for accident related injuries and losses.

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If you have any questions about a car accident, winter driving accidents, or your legal rights, please call our team today for a free, no-risk consultation.